NASA Is Sending a Drug-Resistant Superbug Into Space

And that's hopefully less scary than it sounds
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2017 7:00 PM CST
NASA Is Sending a Drug-Resistant Superbug Into Space
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lights up the night sky as it streaks over the Cocoa Beach Pier during liftoff early Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016, from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.   (Craig Rubadoux/Florida Today via AP)

NASA and a biomedicine company are sending a drug-resistant superbug into outer space, where it will be researched aboard the International Space Station. And while Gizmodo notes the plan sounds like "Elon Musk's idea for a science fiction spec he's working on," it will—hopefully—have actual scientific benefits. Dr. Anita Goel tells CNN she believes MRSA—aka staph—will mutate more quickly in zero gravity. This could allow researchers to see future forms of MRSA and develop antibiotics to fight them before they happen. And that would be great news, as MRSA currently kills more people in the US every year than HIV/AIDS, Parkinson's, emphysema, and homicide combined. The well-contained MRSA sample will be hitching a ride on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching Saturday in Florida. (More MRSA stories.)

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